Archive for Peter Riddell

Peter took up the Directorship at the Institute for Government on 1st January 2012. He was previously a Senior Fellow at the Institute and divided his time here with his work for the Detainee Inquiry, a privy counsellor panel looking at whether the British Government was implicated in the improper treatment of detainees held by other countries (a role from which he resigned at the end of last year to concentrate on the IfG). At the Institute, he co-authored reports on Transitions and Ministerial Effectiveness and has been closely involved in work on political and constitutional reform. Until mid-2010, Peter was a journalist for nearly 40 years, split between the Financial Times and The Times, where he had been their domestic political analyst and commentator. He has been a regular broadcaster, has written seven books and delivered frequent lectures. He chairs the Hansard Society, a non-partisan charity which promoters understanding of Parliament and representative democracy. He will be stepping down from this role in the next few months. Peter has received two honorary doctorates of literature, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Political Studies Association and was one of the first recipients of the President’s medal of the British Academy. He was appointed to the Privy Council in July 2010 in order to serve on the Detainee Inquiry.

Peter Riddell’s Posts

Lord Browne – Successes but ragged at the edges

, 18 November 2014

What is striking is how Lord Browne and other prominent business figures who are lead non-executive directors on 17 Whitehall boards have gained acceptance from departmental permanent secretaries – the very group who most strongly resisted their introduction by Francis Maude in 2010. Cynics might see this as producer capture, but there are positive...

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The updated guidance on the Osmotherly Rules

, 20 October 2014

Civil servants running the biggest projects will now be directly accountable to Parliament. The 34-year-old Osmotherly rules, providing guidance for ministers and civil servants appearing before select committees, have been rewritten to allow parliamentary select committees to question key officials (the Senior Responsible Owners or SROs) about the implementation of key projects.

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By Prime Ministerial Appointment: the PM and Permanent Secretaries

, 17 October 2014

The Civil Service Commission had gone out on a limb on the issue of Permanent Secretary appointments in face of the views of the three main parties and many senior civil servants. So its latest announcement that the Prime Minister will, in future, be given a choice of candidates for around 25 heads of...

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The challenge for new civil service CEO John Manzoni

, 3 October 2014

The challenge facing John Manzoni as the new chief executive of the Civil Service is to show that central leadership can improve performance across Whitehall. That goal has eluded his predecessors in part because of insufficient authority in face of entrenched departmental interests, as well as handling departments at times in too controlling a...

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Commons divisions

, 29 August 2014

The normal tranquillity of Westminster in August has been broken this year by a rumbling row over the appointment of the next Clerk of the House. The interviews for the top official in the House of Commons were completed in July. But the final stage of the process, whereby the name of the candidate...

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No longer just big party dominance

, 28 August 2014

Douglas Carswell’s defection to UKIP and his decision to fight a by-election is a reminder that the UK now has a multi-party system – even though Westminster and Whitehall have only partially conceded the shift. We still largely live in the mindset in English national politics – even if not in European and mayoral...

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Challenges facing the new Civil Service chief executive

, 29 July 2014

The new CEO will have important roles, but more modest and limited than those of a chief executive as normally understood. He or she will not run the Civil Service or line manage Permanent Secretaries, as a CEO elsewhere would. So what does the job involve? And will it help fix any of the...

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The Prime Minister must ensure that he gets a chief executive at the centre

, 15 July 2014

The idea of appointing a full-time chief executive to lead the Civil Service is correct – provided the responsibilities and authority match the role. There are worrying signs in yesterday’s announcement that they will not, and we may have the second muddled reorganisation in three years.

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The roles of ministers and permanent secretaries should be complementary not conflicting

, 8 July 2014

Secretaries of state and permanent secretaries have different roles, which should be complementary, and not in conflict. That is why the latest row over a leaked five year old paper on ‘Permanent Secretary’ roles is so artificial, exaggerated and a distraction from the real issues of civil service reform.

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The Chilcot inquiry critics should be careful what they wish for

, 2 June 2014

The response to last week’s agreement between the Chilcot inquiry and the Cabinet Office over the disclosure of material on the Iraq war has been one-sided and ill-informed.


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